Editing my photos from Disneyland and Universal Studios was super difficult because it made me want to buy tickets to go back right away! I’ve actually been to all of these parks many times throughout my life but this was my first time going without my family. Going with my travel buddy, Jared, was a totally different experience. We have so much fun doing nothing together, so imagine how much extra fun we had in a theme park!
Although we just traveled a bunch before the end of the year, we chose to take another trip to Orange County in January because historically that’s low season. I was skeptical but it ended up being the perfect time to go. For those of you that don’t have the patience or energy to wait in crazy lines, you have to go in January or early February (before President’s weekend)! We got to ride every single ride we wanted to – multiple times. Buuuut the caveat is that some rides were closed for maintenance. Splash Mountain, Grizzly River Run, and It’s a Small World to name a few :(
I hadn’t been to Universal Studios Hollywood since they added the Harry Potter attractions so this is what I was most excited about. While I couldn’t stop nerding out over all of the buildings, I was slightly underwhelmed by how little there is to actually do. Jared’s been to the Orlando location and said it is definitely more exciting and has a lot more to do. I probably feel so underwhelmed because the main ride (Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey) made me REALLY sick. I almost threw up afterwards and that was after closing my eyes for about 95% of the ride. So yeah, they weren’t joking when they posted the motion sickness warnings. My favorite thing since the rides didn’t work out for me was the frozen butterbeer. So fun!
Other highlights from Universal:
-The studio tour is one of my favorite parts!! I kind of wish we had gone on a weekday because the chance of seeing someone famous is much higher, haha. They added a 3-D part to the tour that I wasn’t a huge fan of but it’s definitely a fun part of the park. I would recommend doing this in the middle of your day because it’s a nice break as you get to sit for about an hour.
-Jurassic Park!!! This was my first time on the ride and it was SO much fun. I’m proud that I actually went on it actually. I have childhood memories of my mom and I waiting for my dad to ride this because we were too scared to go on it. The drop at the end is insane – 85 feet and yes, you get soaked. Luckily it was so warm that day that we were dry in no time.
-The Mummy……not because it was really fun, but because I want to document that I actually went on this ride and survived. I don’t really enjoy rides that are super fast and dark but I felt bad to not go on it with Jared, so I did. The woman to my left and I just screamed at the top of our lungs the entire time. It was so fast that it ended quickly but the entire time we were flying backwards on the ride I felt like I was going to cry!!! Afterwards my legs were definitely shaking, haha.
We took this photo right before our first ride of the day which was Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. I’ve never gotten to the park so early that we had to wait behind the rope to run, I mean speed walk, to the rides. We walked right on and had so much fun on this one. I’m always in awe of all of the detail that goes into the scenery here. It looks so real!!
We had to get Dole whip even though we just went to the actual Dole plantation in Hawaii a few months ago. If we’re being honest…the Dole whip in Disney tastes better than the stuff in Hawaii. Apparently I don’t like it fresh hahaha.
One new thing about Disneyland that I really like is that any of the Disney photographers will take photos with your own camera or phone if you want. You don’t have to buy anything special for this and they’re usually really good at taking photos with what they’ve got! The photographer who took photos of us in front of the castle ended up taking tons and even played around with the portrait mode on my phone.
California Adventure has changed so much since my last time there. Granted, a huge portion of it is under construction for the new Pixar Pier which is opening in the summer. The most exciting part for me was Cars Land. I loved all of the cute restaurants, signs, and the whole landscape for Radiator Springs Racers is SO good. The ride had the longest lines the whole day but we managed to ride it twice without having to wait for more than 30 minutes total.
Since Grizzly River Run was closed we had to make up for it by riding some things several times. This might sound excessive but we rode Soarin’ Around the World three times!! I love that ride now that it’s been updated! Since I’ve been on it so many times now, I can tell you that sitting in the middle third set of seats is the best experience. You’re welcome for the expert tip ;)
It didn’t feel like there was that much to do compared to Disneyland but we still had a lot of fun. We happened to go during the beginning of their Lunar New Year festivities. There were also a few obligatory treats we had to get. Mickey shaped ice cream is always a must and now my new favorite Disney food – a sourdough bread bowl with mac and cheese. So bad for you but so good…
I’m already counting down the days until we get to go to Disney again!! Have you been? Let me know if you have any questions! I have been giving two of my friends tips on what rides they should go on because I’m super prone to motion sickness and I’m afraid of big roller coasters. If you’re like me, I have all the deets for you!